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Mosul offensive (2015)
Part of the Iraq War (2014–present),
the spillover of the Syrian Civil War, and
the military intervention against ISIL
Mosul offensive (2015) map.png
Map of the Kurdish-launched Mosul offensive in early 2015
Date21 January – 10 February 2015
(2 weeks and 6 days)
LocationMosul, Iraq
Result

Kurdish victory

  • Kurdish Peshmerga forces cut crucial supply routes to Mosul, retook some nearby villages, and opened three fronts to the northwest of Mosul, near Badush Dam
  • The US-led Coalition intensifies airstrikes near Mosul to support the campaign to retake the city
  • Peshmerga forces continue to hold the areas and roads they captured, with Coalition airstrikes hampering ISIL operations in the region
Belligerents

Republic of Iraq

 Iraqi Kurdistan

Airstrikes:
CJTF-OIR

United States[1]
United Kingdom United Kingdom[2]
 Canada[3]
 Jordan[4]
 Morocco[5]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Haider al-Abadi
Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani
United States Barack Obama
United Kingdom David Cameron
Canada Stephen Harper
Jordan Abdullah II
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Self-declared Caliph)
Abu Suleiman al-Naser (Replacement Military Chief)[6]
"Prince of Nineveh"
(top ISIL commander in Mosul)[4]
Strength

 Iraqi Kurdistan

  • 5,000 soldiers[1]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL:

  • 12,000+ fighters[7]
Casualties and losses
Unknown 255+ militants killed[1][8]
3 civilians killed[9]


The Mosul offensive (2015) was an offensive launched by Kurdish Peshmerga forces on 21 January 2015, with the objective of severing key ISIL supply routes to Mosul, Iraq, and to recapture neighboring areas around Mosul.[1] The Iraqi Army is not expected to launch the planned operation to retake Mosul until later in 2015.[citation needed]

Background[edit | edit source]

Ever since the city of Mosul fell to ISIL forces on 10 June 2014, the United States and the Iraqi Government had been planning to retake the city. Initially, the original plan called for an assault on Mosul in July or August 2015, even though some US officials claimed that an attack at that point would be "too late." On December 25, 2014, after Hassan Saeed Al-Jabouri, the ISIL governor of Mosul, was killed by a US-led Coalition airstrike in Mosul, it was revealed that the US planned to retake the city of Mosul in January 2015.[10] In late January 2015, Iraqi Army forces began preparing for the assault on Mosul.[11]

The offensive[edit | edit source]

On 21 January 2015, 5,000 Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers liberated multiple villages neighboring Mosul, amid speculation that the Iraqi Army was preparing for an assault on Mosul.[1] The Peshmerga forces also disrupted essential ISIL supply routes between Mosul, Tel Afar, and Syria, and they reclaimed over 500 kilometers of land in the region.[1] However, Kurdish officials states that they do not plan to move beyond primarily-Kurdish areas, and that retaking the city of Mosul itself was the responsibility of the Iraqi Army.[1] An estimated 200 ISIL fighters were killed. Among the ISIL militants killed was the new ISIL governor of the Nineveh Governorate.[1] Peshmerga forces also positioned themselves on three fronts to the northwest of Mosul, near Badush Dam. Kurdish forces reported firing 20 Grad missiles into Mosul, upon receiving intelligence that ISIL militants were gathering to meet near the city's Zuhour neighborhood. Firing from about 12 miles north of Mosul, Captain Shivan Ahmed said the rockets hit their targets. ISIL claimed that the rockets hit civilians.[9]

On 22 January 2015, the US increased its number of airstrikes near Mosul to a record number of 16. The airstrikes struck two large ISIL units, two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL building, an ISIL mortar team, and destroyed six ISIL culverts, two ISIL bridges, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL artillery system, 11 ISIL vehicles, an ISIL fighting position, six ISIL staging positions, two ISIL heavy weapons, an ISIL VBIED, and four ISIL armored vehicles.[12] The Royal Canadian Air Force has also destroyed numerous ISIL targets around Mosul in support of ground forces.[3]

On 23 January 2015, the heightened US airstrike campaign continued, with 8 airstrikes bring carried out in and near Mosul. The airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and a large ISIL unit, and destroyed seven ISIL vehicles, two ISIL VBIEDs, an ISIL bulldozer, four ISIL buildings, an ISIL artillery system, an ISIL heavy weapon system, two ISIL armored vehicles, an ISIL shipping container, and an ISIL bunker.[12]

On 27 January 2015, ISIL launched a surprise attack on the oil-rich Kurdish city of Kirkuk, in an attempt to draw Kurdish Peshmerga fighters away from Mosul.[13] However, Peshmerga forces managed to staunch the attack and regain some lost territory in the region, with the US ramping up their airstrikes near Kirkuk to 19 on 1 February 2015, in response to the ISIL advance.[14]

On 4 February 2015, Jordan began launching airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq, in retaliation for ISIL's brutal killing of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh. The airstrikes killed 55 ISIL militants in Mosul, including a senior ISIL commander known as the "Prince of Nineveh."[4]

On 6 February 2015, an RAF Tornado GR4 patrol worked closely with a coalition surveillance platform to provide air support for Peshmerga forces, who were engaged in close combat with ISIL terrorists near Mosul. When an ISIL mortar position opened fire on the Peshmerga, the Tornados responded with a Brimstone missile, scoring a direct hit.[15]

On 9 February 2015, John Allen, the U.S. coordinator for the international coalition against ISIL, stated that the Iraqi Army, backed by Coalition airstrikes, will launch a ground offensive “in the weeks ahead” to regain the territory lost to ISIL, including the city of Mosul.[16] On the same day, Coalition sources reported that the Peshmerga had recaptured additional territory near Mosul.[17]

On 10 February, it was revealed that Peshmerga forces were only 6 to 9 miles away from the city center of Mosul, in the northwestern outskirts, and that they had managed to retake the Nineveh plains area (more specifically, the majority of the Tel Keppe District) to the northwest of Mosul.[18] However, the Kurds stated that they were waiting for further orders to enter the outskirts of Mosul city.[18]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Morris, Loveday (January 22, 2015). "Kurds say they have ejected Islamic State militants from large area in Northern Iraq". http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/kurds-say-they-have-ejected-islamic-state-from-a-big-area-in-northern-iraq/2015/01/21/ac459372-a1c6-11e4-b146-577832eafcb4_story.html. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  2. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". 17 February 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-iraq-air-strikes. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Operation IMPACT – Air Task Force-Iraq airstrikes". http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact-airstrikes.page. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Jordan carries out air strikes in Iraq, killing 55 IS militants". i24 News. 4 February 2015. http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/60008-150204-king-abdullah-lands-in-jordan-following-murder-of-pilot. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  5. "Morocco Sends its F16s to Syria and Iraq to Fight ISIS". The Moroccan Times. http://moroccantimes.com/2014/12/morocco-sends-f16s-syria-iraq-fight-isis/. 
  6. "Military Skill and Terrorist Technique Fuel Success of ISIS". New York Times. 27 August 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/middleeast/army-know-how-seen-as-factor-in-isis-successes.html. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  7. "Expert: seizing Mosul may take 10 months, 30,000 troops". Rudaw. http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/170220152. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  8. "Jordan carries out air strikes in Iraq, killing 55 IS militants". i24news. http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/60008-150204-king-abdullah-lands-in-jordan-following-murder-of-pilot. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Kurdish forces fire into Isis controlled Mosul". Jan 24, 2015. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/01/24/Kurdish-forces-fire-into-ISIS-controlled-Mosul.html. .
  10. Per Liljas (December 25, 2014). "Iraqi Police: Coalition Airstrikes Kill ISIS Governor of Mosul". Time. http://time.com/3647361/iraq-isis-governor-mosul/. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  11. "Iraqi army readies for assault on Mosul". 10 January 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/01/iraqi-army-readies-assault-mosul-2015110164639347982.html. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Updates". United States Department of Defense. January 26, 2015. http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2014/0814_iraq/Airstrikes6.html. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  13. Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider (1 February 2015). "Is U.S. coalition winning war vs. ISIS? - CNN.com". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/01/opinion/bergen-state-of-isis/index.html?iid=ob_article_organicsidebar_expansion&iref=obnetwork. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  14. "Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Updates". United States Department of Defense. February 1, 2015. http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2014/0814_iraq/Airstrikes6.html. Retrieved February 2, 2015. 
  15. "Update: air strikes in Iraq". UK government. 17 February 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-iraq-air-strikes. 
  16. "Iraq to launch ground offensive against ISIS". Al Arabiya. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/02/09/Iraqi-ground-offensive-against-ISIS-within-weeks-U-S-point-man.html. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  17. Schwartz, Felicia (9 February 2015). "Kurdish Forces, Backed by Coalition Airstrikes, Move Toward Mosul". The Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/articles/kurdish-forces-backed-by-coalition-airstrikes-move-toward-mosul-1423509334. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Kurds are close to retaking Mosul". Feb 10, 2015. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/02/10/Kurds-Are-Close-Retaking-Mosul-ISIS. .

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